Kyle – Stuart Buck

        “Life seems overwhelming at the moment right?”
        “Do you watch the news? Everything is fucking fucked”. He had me in an above average elbow tie, which meant I was talking into the area just to the left of his groin. 
        “No. It’s a system of oppression created by the governments of the world”
        “How so?”
        “It keeps people scared I think. You know. You see all this death on the news. Famine. War. And you think that’s what life is like. But I don’t think it’s like that. I think it is good to be alive. I think it’s good to be here, now.”
        “Oh I agree. I fucking love life man. It can be a downer but if you held a gun to my head I’d say yeah I wanna live you know. For sure.”
        “And… listen. The thing is, if you tell people that the whole world is scary…they get scared. And what do scared people do?” he shifted slightly, hyper-extending my shoulder socket. It was going to pop. I wanted it to pop. I felt my dick tighten.
        “They consume. They consume and they spend.”
        “And that’s it. Scared people buy shit. The whole world revolves around scared people buying shit. Comfort food… that sort of stuff.”
        “So you are saying the news is there to facilitate capitalism?” I asked him, my nose rubbing against his crotch. He smelt faintly of sweat, but mainly of Axe body-spray. He must have sprayed it down his jockstrap before he came out. I could feel it stinging my junk in sympathy.
        “Exactly man. Exactly. And…it does this thing. This thing. This…I don’t know how to describe it. It makes you feel like you are part of the world. But not in a good way. Not in a we are all one kinda Alan Watts way. More a…shit. More a kind of. Hold on.” Kyle said. He flipped over me, grabbing round my neck. I knew he was going for the under-hook and I countered, wriggling free and reaching between his legs, hoping to get a hook of my own. We struggled to the mat, a pretzel of flesh and bone. He spoke into my arm, his breath soft and warm. I suddenly wanted him to pin me. To feel his weight on top of me. To surrender to him. 
        “It makes you think you matter?” I asked.
        “Nah man. Look. It makes you believe you are part of this…pulsing mass of flesh. This… interconnected web of humanity. Like…like it matters what happens to some third world country. Likes it affects you. And worse. It makes you think you can affect it.”
        “Guilt yeah but also a…a feeling that you need to stay connected. Because that’s it isn’t it? You need to stay connected to people. Loneliness is pushed as a negative but I like being one person with one set of goals and one over-arching philosophy. One human, one mind.”
        “I don’t feel guilty. I feel bad for people experiencing suffering though.”
        “Why? What does feeling bad bring you?” he whispered into my ear, arm closing round my throat. 
        “It makes me sad.”
        “And you want to feel sad?”
        “Hell no. I never want to feel sad. But sometimes it’s inevitable with the way the world is.”
        “No it’s not. Because see. What can you do about famine?”
        “Nothing of course. Except worry over it I guess.”
        “It’s hard though. Don’t you find it hard? To let go. To distance yourself from it.”
        “Here’s how” he said confidently, his fingers incredibly close to my junk. “You become present. You become present man. That’s it. You become present and you close off the…the waterfall of violence that cascades over you every day if you let it.”
        “Think about the inside of your finger.”
        “What? My finger?”
        “Yeah. Your finger. What does it feel like?”
        “It feels like a finger man I don’t know. At the moment it’s searching for a way to push your shoulders to the ground.”
        “Not your finger. The inside of your finger. Just. Look. I’ll stop for ten seconds OK. We can just lie here. And you. You fucker. You. You try to concentrate on the inside of your finger.”
        Kyle moved on top of me, but lightly, like an apology.
        “Got it?” 
        “Yeah. It felt. Kind of warm.”
        “Right. It feels weird right? Because you never stop and think about it. About that feeling. From the inside to the outside. Not the other way round. You let stuff in. constantly. You let every little bad thing get to you. I know you do. I can smell it.”
        “Right. I mean. Yeah.”
        “So now. You move. From your finger to your hand. Imagine your hand from the inside. Moving out. You should feel a pulse. But it’s deeper than that. It’s… it’s like nothing you have felt.”
        “Yeah. It’s a warmth.”
        “A warmth yeah. A tingling.”
        “I feel it” I said. And I did. It felt like I had a hand for the first time in my life. Like I was the hand. And nothing else. Kyle pushed down slightly on my frame. Like he knew I was drifting. 
        “Move that perception up your arm. That warmth. Let it fill your arm. Don’t push it. Do it step by step or you’ll fuck it up.”
        “OK…” I said. I felt him breathing into my neck. 
        “Your entire arm should be warm. Full of something. I can’t tell you what it is. But it is.”
      “I feel it.” 
        “You are present.” he whispered against my flesh. I felt storms going off inside me. 
        “OK now answer me this. Did you think about the world while we were doing that?”
        “No. Because you were present. Moving from the inside… out.”
        “It felt good.” I whispered. We were going to have to start moving again soon. To start wrestling. To move our hands and arms for the very first time.
        “It felt good because you were here. Not there.”
        “Not where?”
        “Not there. The world. The outside. The news. The consumption. The terror. The fucking… terror of it all. You weren’t afraid because there is nothing to be afraid of. Not really. Just you and me. Right now. On this mat. And then even I’ll leave you.”
        “That…doesn’t sound like a positive. That sounds lonely.”
        “Right. But loneliness isn’t always negative. Because when you are alone. No outside influence. That my friend. Is when you move that feeling of warmth from inside you to the world. You project that sensation on the world. And tell me. If you are moving warmth and understanding from inside you to the outside world, are you leaving it a better place or a worse place?” he asked me, roughly grabbing my wrist and jamming me against the floor. For one perfect moment I thought he was going to kiss me. To ignore the crowd, the ref, the coaches. To ignore the world. To become present inside me. 
        “FALL” cried the referee. 
        “A better place” I whispered.

It was cold when I got off the bus that took us home. The sweat from the match was still on my skin and sticking to my back. I never showered after away matches. Too much risk. I’d rather stink and be safe in my own shower. Or one at school. The trip back was long enough to ensure school was closed when we pulled in, which meant I was reeking cross town in the slight snow. I kept myself warm with thoughts of Kyle. I often thought about the guys I wrestled. When you spend seven minutes grabbing each other in delicate places you form a bond with them. I thought about the smell of his neck. It smelt like a swimming pool. I tried to replicate his breathing. Little shallow gasps when I took him down. More masculine, nasal breathing when he pushed back. I imagined our  mouths locking together. Like two O-Rings. Our breath becoming one. Pumping from his mouth to mine and back again. A symmetrical machine. Bio-mechanics. Pump and pull. I wanted that. For his breath to run through my whole body. To absorb him on an atomic level. No escape. Just two boys in love.